A teacher in Franklin County is at the center of a controversy, and students and parents are taking the teacher’s side skipping school as a form of protest. Some parents feel school officials are trying to force Alice Joseph into early retirement.
When there's noticeably less students in the hallways and on the playgrounds it would raise a flag in anybody's mind. On Monday almost 50 students were absent from school at Chapman Elementary and Tuesday it was much of the same.
"My boy stayed out yesterday. He had a real bad cough, but I did let him go today."
That's what most parents say when you ask them about their child's absence, but the real reason could be it's just a form of protest.
A teacher at the school has been placed on a leave of absence with pay and many in this community are not happy with that. They say Alice Joseph who's been teaching for nearly 30 years is a victim of unfair treatment.
Anderson Williams, a concerned citizen, says, "She's a well liked teacher and one of the favorite teachers in the school. It's just an injustice and the citizens are not going to take it."
Betty Williams, who's grandchildren attend Chapman Elementary, says the fact that Joseph is African-American and outspoken, has caused her a problem with the administration.
Betty Williams says, "The first reason is because she's black. The second reason she'll speak up. She not a person that just sits and let them do anything to her."
School Board Superintendent Jo Ann Gander declined to interview on camera but she did state that the leave of absence was something that both parties agreed was the best thing to do at this time.
Franklin County School Board members will discuss Joseph's future at their meeting Thursday.